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Samsung NX20 Wireless CSC Full Review

Samsung NX20 Wireless CSC Full Review - Joshua Waller reviews the latest mirrorless camera from Samsung, the NX20 with 20.3 megapixel sensor and Wi-Fi built in.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX20
Price : £959
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX20 CSC

The Samsung NX20 was introduced in the middle of April 2012, and is the upgrade to the NX11, adding a 20.3 megapixel sensor, Full HD video, and built in Wi-Fi, as well as a swivelling 3 inch AMOLED screen. 

Samsung NX20 Features


Samsung NX20 Pop-up Flash
Samsung NX20 Pop-up Flash

The NX20 is an update to the NX11 and sits in the SLR-style range of NX mirrorless cameras from Samsung - not only does it feature the new 20.3 megapixel APS-C size sensor from the NX200, it also features a new tilting 3 inch AMOLED screen, built in Wi-Fi and improved continuous shooting.

Wi-Fi features are shared with Samsung's compact Wi-Fi cameras, and includes mobile link, remote viewfinder, social sharing (facebook, youtube etc), email, skydrive, auto backup, and TV link. We look at these in more detail below.

Samsung NX20 CSC Sensor
Samsung NX20 CSC Sensor

Key Features

  • 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Samsung NX Mount
  • 18-55mm OIS III Kit lens
  • 3 inch Tilting AMOLED screen
  • Wi-Fi built in
  • Full HD Video with stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO12800
  • 8fps continuous shooting - Full Resolution
  • 10/15/30fps Burst mode - 5mp
  • EVF SVGA with eye-detection

Samsung NX20 Handling

Samsung NX20 Top

Handling - The camera allows the AEL / Preview and Custom buttons to be setup as custom buttons. It's also possible to set what the iFn button lets you change from Aperture / Shutter / EV / ISO / WB / iZoom. Lens distortion correction is also an option in the Custom settings menus.

Whilst very similar is size to the model it replaces, the NX11, it has an improved handgrip, as well as a thicker body to allow the tilting / swivelling screen. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is surrounded by plastic (instead of rubber). It feels more like a mini-Digital SLR rather than a compact mirrorless camera, whether this is a good thing or not will mostly be down to personal preference.

Samsung NX20 Screen
Samsung NX20 Tilting Screen

Menus – Pressing the Fn button lets you set the controls on the back screen making it quick to change options. The menus are easy to navigate with clear text and built in help that will display information about the settings. There are a number of options available including an electronic shutter (on/off) increasing the fastest shutter speed from 1/4000sec to 1/8000sec.

Wi-Fi connectivity:
Here are the Wi-Fi options available from the dedicated Wi-Fi mode on the dial, and it's also possible to access Wi-Fi sharing from the playback mode, although with limited options:
  • Mobilelink (for Android/iPhone) - lets you copy photos and videos to the phone although it took a while to connect and occassionally crashed on our Android phone it works quite well and makes it easy to copy images.
Samsung Mobile Link Samsung Remote Viewfinder
Samsung Mobile Link Samsung Remote Viewfinder
  • Remote Viewfinder (for Android/iPhone) - lets you control the camera with your smartphone - the options available are flash, self-timer and image size, the benefit of this is that you can save the image to your phone if needed. The app doesn't work in landscape mode, so the view is smaller than the camera's screen, even on a large 4.7 inch phone.
Samsung NX20 Direct to Facebook
  • Social Sharing - Upload photos to Facebook / Picasa (part of Google+) / Photobucket and Video to Youtube.
Email From Nx20 Keyboard Entry Nx20
Email From Keyboard Entry
  • Email - lets you email photos directly to others, images are sent resized to 2 megapixels.
Samsung Nx20 Skydrive Samsung Nx20 Skydrive Images
Skydrive logon Selecting Skydrive Images To Upload
  • SkyDrive - Lets you backup / upload your photos to Microsoft SkyDrive.
  • AutoBackup - Lets you backup to your PC through the Wi-Fi network - this needs to be setup on a PC using the Samsung Intelli-Studio software before it can be used.
  • TV Link - Links the camera to a DLNA compatible TV for viewing up to 1000 photos.
Samsung NX20 Battery
Samsung NX20 Battery

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 360 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take around 300 shots before the battery went flat, although we did spend quite a long time testing the Wi-Fi features. For anyone interested in upgrading from the NX11, you'll be pleased to know the NX20 uses the same battery.

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced, we also made sure to test all the cameras at the same time to ensure the cameras were being tested under the same conditions.


Samsung NX200 Samsung NX20
Shutter Reponse <0.05 <0.05

Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.3 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.2 1.6
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.0 1.0-1.3
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.2 1.5
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 7fps (11 shots) 7fps (11 shots)

Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 2fps (11 shots) 2.5fps (11 shots)

Continuous Shooting (RAW) 7fps (8 shots) 7fps (8 shots)


The camera specifications say that the camera should shoot at 8fps, however we were only able to manage 7fps and the camera still suffers the same delay writing to the memory card which can be quite frustrating at times, taking 11 / 27 seconds "Processing" before you can take the next shot (JPEG / RAW respectively).

Samsung NX20 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, product ratings and photos.

Samsung NX20 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Images show good colour reproduction with excellent detail outdoors, as well as a narrow depth of field when needed as you would expect from the APS-C size sensor with out of focus backgrounds. Photos with flash show very little red-eye.

Samsung NX20 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Dynamic range is decent, with additional range available when using "Smart Range" although this recovers lost highlight detail, and not shadow detail. Sharpness is very good outdoors with good levels of detail. Macro performance is impressive for a kit lens with the lens set at 55mm, and for closer shots manual focus is recommended. The lens is also extremely resistant to flare, even when shooting into the sun. Some distortion (Barrel, Pincushion) is noticeable at wide and telephoto ends of the lens respectively. Vignetting is very low, as is CA/Purple Fringing.

Samsung NX20 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The camera shows low levels of noise at ISO100, with a slight increase at ISO200. Noise is visible at ISO400, although not excessive. At ISO800 noise becomes more noticeable and detail suffers. Again at ISO1600 noise increases further. At ISO3200 noise is stronger again. It's at ISO6400 and above that further image processing may be required, such as resizing or further noise reduction. Leaving electronic shutter switched on enables higher shutter speeds but also gives images with higher noise levels.

Samsung NX20 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with a green cast when using use the Tungsten preset. AWB performs well under flourescent lighting, with a warmer cast when using the Fluorescent preset.

Panoramic2 | 1/2500 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic2 | 1/2500 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - A built in sweep panoramic mode will automatically take a panoramic photo where you simply need to press the shutter button and hold it while panning around. You can shoot both horizontal or vertical panoramic photos.

Samsung NX20 Digital filters


Digital Filters - The NX20 has a wide range of digital filters available when shooting photos. Smart Filter (not available when shooting RAW): Vignetting, Miniature, Fisheye, Sketch, Defog, Halftone dots, Soft focus, Old film 1/2, Negative. Picture wizard colour options are available with presets as well as custom settings for: colour tone, saturation, sharpness and contrast. Selective colour highlights red, green, blue or yellow. Smart filters, Red-eye reduction, Backlighting correction, Face retouch, Brightness, Contrast and Vignetting can also be adjusted in playback. Smart range extends dynamic range, helping to reduce the occurance of blown out highlights in images.

Lenses available: One of the key benefit of a mirrorless / interchangeable lens camera is the ability to change lenses, the Samsung NX system currently has the following lenses available as well a Pentax K Mount adapter (RRP £90) and a number of other adapters available from third party companies. The Samsung NX has a 1.5x crop factor so any lens mounted will give 1.5x the focal length:
There are also a number of lenses available from Samyang, including: 8mm Fisheye f/3.5 (12mm equivalent), 35mm f/1.4 (52.5mm equivalent), 85mm f/1.4 (127.5mm equivalent) and 14mm f/2.8 (21mm equivalent) lenses.

Video - The camera records 1920x1080 (Full HD) video at 30fps, as well as at 1920x810 24fps / 720p / VGA / 240 (email) modes. The camera doesn't feature a wind filter. ISO can be manually set up to ISO3200. P/A/S/M modes are available, as well as Picture wizard colour options. Multimotion lets you record at different speeds 0.25x / 0.5x slow motion at VGA/720p as well as Full HD 5/10/20x for high speed playback. Smart filters, such as old film are available however video is reduced to VGA / 15fps. Selective colour is also available. The AF mode can be chosen, and MF assist is available.


Value For Money

The NX20 is available for £899 pricing it similarly to other premium priced mirrorless cameras, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (£999 body only, with 9fps shooting, weather sealed body), Sony NEX-7 (£925 body only, 10fps, high resolution viewfinder), and despite the NX20 having a metal body doesn't feel quite as premium as some of these rivals.  You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung NX20 Verdict

The Samsung NX20 is an improvement over the NX11 and features a great tilting screen, high speed continuous shooting (although not as quick as others), good image quality and excellent Wi-Fi connectivity. The camera also feels more like a mini Digital SLR rather than a compact mirrorless camera and this makes it larger than some competitors. There are some areas of disappointment, such as the plastic eye cup, 7fps rather than the expected 8fps continuous shooting, higher price, as well as the slow write times when writing photos to memory as this stops you from altering settings for the next shot. However, if you're looking for a high quality mirrorless compact system camera with good image quality and excellent connectivity then the NX20 delivers and has an abundance of features to experiment with as well.

 
  The Samsung NX20 is a high quality camera with excellent Wi-Fi connectivity.

Samsung NX20 Pros

Excellent swivelling screen
Excellent Wi-Fi connectivity
Improved build quality 18-55mm kit lens
Good macro performance from the 18-55mm lens
Custom buttons
Slow/Fast motion video
10/15/30fps shooting at 5mp

Samsung NX20 Cons

Plastic eye surround (not rubber)
7fps continuous shooting (should be 8fps)
Slow write times
Price

FEATURES    
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Samsung NX20 Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3648
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution614,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
  • Bracket
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionSVGA
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS60, 30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable battery : BP1310
CIPA Rating360
Box Contents
Box ContentsIntelli-studio 3.0, Samsung RAW Converter 4, Adobe Reader, Camera, 18-55mm OIS lens, hood, lens cap, Battery, Charger, Neck Strap, CD, Quick Manual, USB Cable
Dimensions
Weight341g
Width122mm
Height89.6mm
Depth39.5mm

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Comments


Niknut e2
4 542 60 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2012 5:06PM
Great review......the hi-res images look very impressive.....I'm now
keen to try a few test shots of my own, if I can find a stockist !!

The size & weight (or lack of !) is very appealing, with no mirror-clang, &
OIS on the lens......APS-C sensor & 20 mgpxl !!.....looking good !!

Could well be my next 'toy' !!!!!!!!!!.Grin

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kodachrome 2 468
21 Jun 2012 12:59PM
Good review, I think the pictures from what I have seen on the test deserve a bit more praise than we saw. The 100% crops were superb for detail, resolution and sharpness. Noise was non existant.
Our reviewer could only remark that it was an 'improvement' over the previous NX11.
I would have thought it was a bit more than just an 'improvement'.

899 is a bit steep but at least you get a kit lens in the price which is more than Olympus offer for their O-MD E-M5 body only for 999. You must consider that a Canon 600D or Nikon D5100 both with kit lenses are considerably cheaper and both give class leading performance and picture quality.

Give it a bit of time on the market and the price may drop then I might add it to my short list.
StrayCat e2
10 14.7k 2 Canada
23 Jun 2012 7:27PM
Well done review Josh. I don't like the idea of having to wait for image transfers to the card, that was my main complaint with the Canon 600D.
17 Oct 2013 8:55PM
Good evening to All.

Great Review as usual, I'm an happy awner of NX20, I have to update you about the buffer problem in continuos shooting, I Update the firmware and the camera shoot at 8fps with flash 17sec including seving (RAW files) and 15sec without flash, compliments for your great Rewievs.

Antonio

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